Sunday, December 7, 2008

Second Week of Advent

Second Sunday and Week of Advent
Light the 1st purple candle
(repeat first week's prayer:
Stir up thy power, O Lord, and come, that by thy protection we may be rescued from the dangers that beset us through our sins; and be a Redeemer to deliver us; who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.)

Light the 2nd purple candle

Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to prepare the paths of thine Only-begotten Son:
that we may worthily serve thee with hearts purified by His coming: Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Alternate/Complementary Prayer:
O King of all nations, Jesus Christ,
only joy of every heart,
come and save your people.
(From Christmas Prayers, Victor Hoagland, C.P.)

Sunday's Scriptures:
Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11
Psalm 85
2 Peter 3:8-15
Mark 1:1-8

Second Sunday of Advent

"'Hope' is the thing with feathers/That perches in the soul/And sings the tune without the words /And never stops at all." Emily Dickinson's definition of hope captures what many of us have a hard time defining. Hope is not blind optimism, nor arrogant certainty, nor wishful thinking. Hope, the theme of today's Gospel, is the knowledge that God would not desert us, that we will endure difficult times to see a better day. Hope gives us the strength to seek peace and demand justice, and to envision the world as God intended it to be.

(Gen 3:9-15, 20; Eph 1: 3-6, 11-12; Luke 1:26-38)

"The immunity from original sin was given to Mary by a singular exemption from a universal law through the same merits of Christ, by which other men are cleansed from sin by baptism. Mary needed the redeeming Saviour to obtain this exemption, and to be delivered from the universal necessity and debt (debitum) of being subject to original sin. The person of Mary, in consequence of her origin from Adam, should have been subject to sin, but, being the new Eve who was to be the mother of the new Adam, she was, by the eternal counsel of God and by the merits of Christ, withdrawn from the general law of original sin. Her redemption was the very masterpiece of Christ's redeeming wisdom. He is a greater redeemer who pays the debt that it may not be incurred than he who pays after it has fallen on the debtor.

Such is the meaning of the term "Immaculate Conception." "

Make it a habit to find one example of God at work in your life each day.

(Is 40:1-11; Mt 18:12-14)

Acknowledge your sins. Today's Gospel, along with the parable of the prodigal son, shows the lengths God will go to in order to save each of us. It is easy to resent the "troublemaker" who gets all the attention, but that misses the point: We are each the lost sheep, the prodigal son, in need of salvation. God in his mercy is offering us just that.

(Is 40:25-31; Mt 11:28-30)

Seek respite with God. Both readings today promise rest to the weary. And who isn't weary this time of year? You don't have to cut yourself off from the season's busyness to find rest. Grasp moments of quiet meditation wherever you can find them�turn off the radio in your car, or recite the rosary as you clean the house.

(Is 41:13-20; Mt 11:11-15)

Listen closely. John the Baptist, who heralded Jesus' coming but was ignored and ultimately killed, takes center stage this week. If we saw him on a downtown street today, dressed in rags and preaching with a burning intensity, would we think he was crazy? Or would we listen closely enough to recognize the truth he speaks?

**Friday--Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
(Zech 2:10-13; Luke 1:39-47)

Ignore labels. Sometimes you can't win: Ascetic John is criticized for his severity, while sociable Jesus is called a glutton and worse. Today you're more likely to hear "conservative" and "liberal" thrown around, but the result is the same. Labels blind us to each other's humanity, and to the role in salvation that each one of us must play.

(Sirach 48:1-4, 9-11; Mt 17:10-13)

Carve out some quiet time. The weekends before Christmas are usually nonstop, with little time left for prayer or reflection. It's impossible to forgo the shopping and the parties, but for every busy hour you spend, try to spend an equal amount of time in the quiet, listening and watching for signs of our Savior's arrival.

**Readings changed from those posted by American Catholic to coincide with the Marian Feast days that fall during this week

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